Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin, and because of the body’s poor insulin production, blood sugar levels in the body keep rising. Over time, if left untreated, rising blood sugar levels can pose life-threatening health risks, such as heart disease and stroke, so it is important to regulate blood sugar levels.
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Modifying your diet plays an essential in managing blood sugar levels as certain foods have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and slow the rate of absorption of food into the bloodstream – a mechanism that helps to control blood sugar spikes after meals.
Numerous studies suggest cinnamon, an aromatic spice that is used in a wide variety of cuisines, boasts blood-sugar-lowering properties so adding it to your meals can help to control blood sugar.
Research investigating the effects of of cinnamon on blood sugar has shown that cinnamon has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters your bloodstream after a meal, reducing the risk of blood sugar spikes.
Glucose is a simple sugar that builds up in your bloodstream and is the primary cause of high blood sugar levels.
Cinnamon does this by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in your digestive tract.
When people eat a food containing carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar, which enters the bloodstream, so slowing down the time it takes for carbs to be absorbed in the bloodstream can help to manage blood sugar levels.
In addition, research has also shown that a compound in cinnamon can act on cells by mimicking insulin.
This greatly improves glucose uptake by your cells, though it acts much slower than insulin itself.
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Mounting evidence suggests cinnamon’s impact on blood sugar levels is significant, showing that it can lower fasting blood sugar levels by 10–29 percent.
How much should I take?
A study reported in the Agricultural Research Magazine found that consuming just one gram of cinnamon per day can increase insulin sensitivity and help manage or reverse type 2 diabetes.
In addition, results from a a clinical study published in the Diabetes Care journal, found that a daily intake of one, three or six grams reduce serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL or bad cholesterol and total cholesterol after 40 days among 60 middle-aged diabetics.
Triglyceride and cholesterol are types of molecules found in your blood and high levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
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General dietary trips
Sticking to a low carb diet is a surefire way to control blood sugar levels as foods high in carbohydrate are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose.
One way to distinguish between foods that are high in carb and those that are low in carb is to use the the glycaemic index (GI).
As the NHS explains, the glycaemic index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates which shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
High GI foods include:
- Sugar and sugary foods
- Sugary soft drinks
- White bread
- White rice
Low or medium GI foods, on the other hand, are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.
- Some fruit and vegetables
- Wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats
In addition, low GI foods, which cause your blood sugar levels to rise and fall slowly, may help you feel fuller for longer, helping you to control your appetite and may be useful if you’re trying to lose weight – a key measure in blood sugar management.
What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Urinating more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
The NHS recommends visiting your GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes and you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting it.
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